"Thank you for the use of the hall."
— Jimmy Breslin, the last line of his last regular column, Newsday
SHELDON, IOWA — "Owwwoooo!"
That's Michael Annis' cell phone.
He's the publisher of Howling Dog Press in Denver.
My computer quit a few days ago, but it's kind of working now, so I'll try to send something out, just to wrap this up.
I just want to thank all those who helped me out with this tour that began in Tulsa a month ago and ended in Denver and Fort Collins two days ago.
And thanks to those of you who were gracious enough to let me send these updates.
If you have read every one of them, you qualify for two tickets to see Head East at the Casino Pocatello. Call Dave Namanny at the Mitchell [IA] County Press-News, 641-732-3721 to claim your prize.
I think I quit writing at Seattle, so I'll add a little about the last few dates here.
Seattle, Revolution Books, April 2nd
I spent the day in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, walking up and down Broadway, had coffee at Tully's, watched a high school baseball game in the park. I couldn't stand to watch long though. The coach was terrible. Didn't seem to care about the kids at all. I think he was Cuban, not that there's anything wrong with it.
Better have your Mutt Mitts on if you're going to walk your dog in Seattle.
Lots of Ani DeFranco posters on the lamp poles.
A wo-man served me coffee at Noah's New York bagles. I'm not sure what I think about that transgender stuff. No. Really, I do. It's weird. I was buying coffee anyway just to use the restroom. I set the empty cup down and left.
We had a great talk at Revolution Books, with Terri and C.C., Emma and Charlie. Emma and Charlie are young. C.C., Terri and me, not so. Did you know they had a big protest at Berkeley, "The Battle of Berkeley" they are calling it.
And there were lots more protests in Washington, Oregon, along the coast, to mark the anniversary of the start of this war.
But we don't hear about it.
When the Berrigans poured blood and burned draft files in 1968, was it national news? If so, why isn't this Berkeley thing, where high school students went to the streets to fight the military recruiters next door, on the "Nightly News"?e
Emma says that because high school students are oppressed they are more likely to want to fight, whereas college students are learning to be part of the system and aren't really interested in fighting.
And these just in ...
Coeur d'Alene & Spirit Lake, Idaho
Where I find out I don't know my elbow from my Bilderberger.
At Spirit Lake Books in Spirit Lake, a man coming to my reading introduced himself as retired Army, "kind of in the mode of Charleton Heston," regarding taking the gun out of his cold, dead hands.
The store is owned by a young couple who came to Idaho from New York City after 911.
Okay, then, let's get started with my anti-war, immigrant-hugger talk.
This is the heart of militia country. Or not. Northern Idaho has militia connotations. I spoke to about thirty people one night, then about six the next day at the bookstore.
They were nice. One guy gave me $100 for a twenty-dollar book, and a big hug, and told his wife to hug me too.
I stayed with Don Harkins and Ingri Cassel. They operate the Idaho Observer from their cabin-like home with wood stove and computers and homemade sauna out back. http://www.proliberty.com
I get to sign their guest wall of fame. Pretty cool.
I learn about Gonzaga University next door in Spo-can. The Zags. A Jesuit university. They tamed the Coeur d'Alene Indians I guess, and all live happily ever after, is how it was told to me.
I learn that vaccines are evil as well as my good ol' diet Pepsi aspartame. And I promise to listen to what they have to say.
I'll tell you this.
These folks are free, open thinkers.
They are not to be found walking down the middle of the mall gabbing about American Idol. They are actively seeking the men in the shadows who are running our country. I thank them for that.
They are fighters.
Although ... the Army guy at the bookstore? After my talk he tells me I need to read more, learn more, understand better, regarding the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral something and the Bilderbergerers.
But ... well, I have this thing ... at my talks, I talk, and then I listen. I don't argue, because I am profoundly grateful for anyone taking the time to come to a stinking book reading for one thing, and for another, I have already had my chance.
But, for some guy who says he is so anti-government, what's this about spending your whole life as part of the government?
And, dude, I went to prison to fight this government. You carry around a copy of the constitution in your chest pocket and talk.
I would submit there's a difference.
Oh, well, thank you for coming.
Yes, these potato producers are to be found reading, discussing, caring, and preaching about the evils of fluoride — as I slowly, oh-so cleverly hide my toothpaste behind my back.
You can take my Pepsodent ... when you pry it from my cold, dead ...
South to Salt Lake City
Lots of mountains, snow-tipped scenic views.
From northern Idaho you go into Montana to get south to Salt Lake City, Utah.
You just do.
You go through Missoula and Butte in order to reach Pocatello and Ogden.
Get me the eff out of here.
I am so sick of mountain driving, especially at night, straight up, then straight down, with battallions of mule deer waiting in ambush.
Anyway, got to SLC in plenty of time to pull in backwards, as required, into my parking spot, then locate Cup of Joe coffee shop, on West South Street.
Not to be confused with West West Street or South Eastern Blvd.
Then I walk around a mall and walk back, past the homeless on the street, past the uber-folk of SLC at the outdoor mall, all mixed together like some eclectic bowl of Jello at a Mormon wedding.
At C of J I meet with Eileen and Deanna and Raphael and Tim. I do my reading while shouting at them from three feet away as some guys shout at each other over their chess game three feet behind me.
We talk about "Big Love" and Rocky Anderson and their having been arrested at the bomb test site near Las Vegas.
I realize that, well, here are some more folks fighting the good fight. They really are everywhere.
People howling at the moon, acting crazy to keep from going insane in this open-air asylum called The United States of America.
After our discussion I hang around to read at the Friday night Cup of Joe's poetry slam, a first for me.
Lots of young people caring enough to write a poem and get up in front of people to perform, while dishes clatter and doors slam and cars zoom past outside, and people talk, and still they do it — kind of like the folks fighting for peace all around — putting your whole self into something, not knowing if anyone will care or notice, and most often they do not — but still doing it.
And then into the Salt Lake City night.
Denver & Fort Collins, Colorado
And up the mountain and mule deer toward Wyoming — Evanston, that is.
Then you sleep fast then drive in a hurry to get to Cheyenne, turn right, down to Denver. And by this time you have mastered peeing in a cup going eighty.
I drive down 22nd Street just as people are going into Coors Field for the Rockies game. I've never seen Coors Field.
Then I find California and 21st Street, The Mercury Cafe.
Eileen from Salt Lake said this is a famous place.
I go inside and am warmly greeted by Michael Annis, Daphne Webb, Ken Greenley and Nick Vangel. They are smiling, shaking my hand, all that.
Daphne is the MC, Ken reads his great poetry, and Nick plays his harmonica while Michael reads an epic poem, "WAR," a section from his longer interstitial composition, "Brave New World Order."
I stay with Michael and Allison and Brennan that night. Michael Annis published my book, Looking For Bigfoot.
He is also the publisher of Cost of Freedom.
We have never met before this.
I get to see his workshop where he produces these beautiful books. I get to hear stories about Bukowski and Ginsberg and Kerouac.
Michael is 59, so he did not get in on the Beat era, but he knows all about it, and he published most of them, including Burroughs and Corso.
He is a street-fighter poet, an artist, a guy who gives a shit.
Something as rare as diet Pepsi at a militia soup supper.
I just can't get over this.
Someone with a family who produces books, who gets excited about the work of others, the lives of others, in this world of TV and malls and sports teams, where almost nobody reads or learns or knows anything or gives a shit about anything.
And here is someone who has devoted his life to art, to caring, and it's clear that he won't stop.
The next day in Fort Collins we get skunked, nobody shows up, so Daphne and Michael and I exchange hugs and handshakes and hallelujahs and I hit the road, headed for Salt Lake City.
I get turned around and go towards ...
Pine Ridge, South Dakota
I pass the sign saying I have entered Nebraska: Bridges May Be Icy, People May Be Stupid.
I should know.
Kimball. Scottsbluff. Chadron. Rushville.
I find Robin Long Soldier's apartment on Main Street. I visit with Robin and her children. These people are anything but stupid.
They get it.
We are talking about Bigfoot. Robin tells me about her experience one night while working at a treatment center in Kyle. I tell them about my experience over near Spearfish in the '80s.
Robin takes me over to see her friend, Tammy, who has photos that Bigfoot left in her backyard, but Tammy is not home, or the dogs are barking too loud for her to hear us.
I thank Robin and head off toward Pine Ridge. I then go to Porcupine and park. I walk around in the pines. There have been several sightings on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the past couple of years. http://www.cryptomundo.com
I don't see anything except three horse skulls in one pasture.
But I do see that the reservation is a vast wilderness that could, possibly ... well, you just never know.
About six hours later I pull into our driveway.
The snow is gone, the grass is starting to turn green.
I can't believe I'm here.
* This year's tour was an extension of last year's tour.
All in all, the two tours, "The American Dream Tour," and the "Cost of Freedom" tour, made these stops.
[Again, thank you goes out from the tour staff to all those who made this year-long tour possible. The only place we haven't gone yet is The South. Look for plans for that tour next spring.]
Drinking Liberally, Kansas City, Missouri; Faith & Life Books, Newton, Kansas; Lawrence [KS] Public Library; Crossroads Infoshop, Kansas City, Missouri; A Novel Idea Books, Lincoln, Nebraska.; Soul Desires Books, Omaha; The Reading Grounds Books, Omaha; Wayne State College, Wayne, Nebraska.; Zandbroz Books, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Hill Avenue Books, Spirit Lake, Iowa; Southeast Minnesota Peacemakers, Rochester, Minnesota; Ritual Cafe, Des Moines, Iowa; Magers & Quinn Books, Minneapolis; Magus Books, Minneapolis; College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota; Duluth Catholic Worker House; Mondragon Books, Winnipeg, Canada, canceled, denied entrance to Canada because of prison record; Rainbow Books, Madison, Wisconsin; Cream City Collective, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; New World Resource Center, Chicago; Barbara's Books, Chicago; Revolution Books, Chicago; Unitarian Church, Park Forest, Illinois; Volume One Books, Hillsdale, Michigan; Drinking Liberally, Indianapolis, Indiana; 303 Collective, Saginaw, Michigan; The Planet Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Drinking Liberally, Detroit, Michigan; Drinking Liberally, Cleveland, Ohio; Boxcar Books, Bloomington, Indiana; Drinking Liberally, Pittsburgh, Pennsylania; Talking Leaves Books, Buffalo, New York; Literary Cafe, Buffalo, New York; Drinking Liberally, Rochester, New York; Bluestockings Books, New York City; ETG Cafe & Books, Staten Island, New York; The Book Cellar, Brattleboro, Vermont; Lucy Parson's Center, Boston.
Tulsa, Oklahoma peace group; Dallas-Ft. Worth 911 Truth; Brave New Books, Austin, Texas; Unitarian Church/Peace Farm, Amarillo; Peace House, Taos, New Mexico; Women in Black, Bisbee, Arizona; 911 Truth/Peace group, Tucson, Arizona; Las Vegas Drinking Liberally; Track 16 Art Center, Los Angeles; Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair, San Francisco; Peace & Justice Center, Santa Cruz, California; Public Library/Cheshire Books, Fort Bragg, California; Chico State University, Chico, California; 100 Fires Books, Eureka, California; The Book Barn, Bend, Oregon; Veterans For Peace, Corvallis, Oregon; Laughing Horse Books, Portland, Oregon; Revolution Books, Seattle, Washington; Idaho Observer event, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; Spirit Lake Books, Spirit Lake, Idaho; Cup of Joe, Salt Lake City, Utah; The Mercury Cafe, Denver; Abo's Cafe & Restaurant, Fort Collins, Colorado.
For extra credit, and to receive tickets to "Bread," appearing at Casino Fort Huachuca, read the following and then call Dave Namanny.
Cost of Freedom talk outline
Introduce two books, Cost of Freedom, Iowa Terror.
Talk about "terror in a small town," how we are watching everyone but those we should be watching.
Talk about Homeland Security is a joke. Christian nation keeping poor people from having a chance.
READ: Pinche Puta Store Detective, IT
READ: And I Laugh, from "The Truth," COF
READ: From "Looking For Bigfoot," COF
Two large tasks we face:
Knowing what is really going on.
Deciding what to do about it, if anything.
They say 911 changed the world, but really it changed in 1963 when JFK was murdered. And it continues to this day, same players. We even have a photo of George W. Bush Sr. outside the Texas School Book Depository that day, even though he says he was not there.
That is when our country was stolen from us, then ... RFK, MLK.
Then 911 - and now we may be about to attack Iran.
An intelligent populace would be able to look at news reports and decipher them, read between the lines, much as the Soviet people would have looked at any pronouncement coming from Tass or Pravda.
All we really have to trust is our gut, our heart.
We else are we going to trust?
The Dallas Police Department? The Los Angeles Police Department? The Memphis Police Department?
The Warren Commission?
The 911 Commission?
The Democratic Party?
Can we trust the President?
Can our children even trust us?
READ: How to explain the war to your children, by Antler, Wisconsin, Cost of Freedom. [pg 38]
Are there any clues to help us understand what is happening in our country?
1) Me - arrested in 1980s at Offutt AFB, ban and bar: Peace is Our Profession
Arrested 1999 after Clinton bombing Yugoslavia, ban and bar letter: Global Power For America.
2) 1989, me out of jail last time, Council Bluffs, six months.
Tienenman Square, Berlin Wall, Clinton elected - time of hope - peace dividend?
No - did not happen. Not seen as opportunity, but problem to be solved. Money must still be made on weapons.
Gives us another clue about the kind of country we live in.
Plans made for empire.
Project For a New American Century.
New Pearl Harbor.
Iraq and Afghanistan invasions.
All according to plan.
Me - election 2000, Dem. candidate.
Thought of throwing brick to protest stolen elections. Asked friends to join. No.
Held brick and paper out in hands, judging the weight of each.
Decided not to throw.
My books are my bricks — through my neighbor's window for mowing his lawn the day we bombed Iraq, through the neighborhood church's window for saying nothing about thou shall not kill, through the recruiter's window for teaching our beautiful children to kill, to slit throats, to shoot through the heart, to torture.
How would we act - the American populace - if we knew the truth? Good question.
Some say we are just stupid, apathetic, too comfortable.
But, at least part of it is that we are brainwashed, manipulated by those who devote their lives to that manipulation, while we remain focused on one job, two jobs, tomorrow's To-Do list, paying for health insurance, unable to focus on anything out of cell phone range.
READ: David Ray, COF [pg 17]
Many, many people, everywhere are fighting Bush, fighting for our freedom. It is they who we owe our freedoms to, not the soldiers, that is a lie.
Ex: Doug Wight, recently arrested in Northampton, Mass., for burning American flags.
Ex: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker/Jonah House Holy Week retreat at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church, NW D.C.
Read my tax protest letter.
... But, still ... no matter what we seem to do, it goes on and on and on.
People die. Every day. We kill people. Every day.
Some say there will be no election, that propaganda and false terror will win out, that the pieces are all in place for that to happen.
Or maybe the next election is also rigged.
Or the people "they" want are already in place. Dennis Kucinich and the like impolitely elbowed out of the way.
We don't know ... but we can feel.
What sort of country we live in, that we are leaving to our kids.
The good news, the great news ... is that, despite all evidence to the contrary — it is still up to us to determine.
Encourage peace movement to adopt 911 Truth - that is the why - that is the root - that gets us to the truth about our country - fights the lies in our high school history books - leads down the road to finding out.
Otherwise, they will just keep doing the same thing ... again and again and again - as has been happening up to now.
*Also - voting for Obama is not nearly enough. He is not talking about prosecuting Bush for war crimes, for finding out about stolen elections, about truth about 911 - without that, it's just not good enough.
READ: Other People's Kids, by Mary Walworth, New Jersey [pg. 19]